Friday, June 15, 2012

For Ray Bradbury

A friend's lovely blog post about the death of Ray Bradbury caused me to stop and reflect on Bradbury's influence on my own reading life. It was Bradbury who first introduced me to the short story form in an extensive way. Since I first picked up a library copy of Bradbury's stories at the age of 14 or 15, the short story has become a big part of my life—I read stories obsessively, have a bookshelf devoted to collections of them, teach students to write them, and have written some of my own.

Truth be told, I haven't written much fiction in recent years, but here's a hundred-word story I wrote today in class after giving the hundred-word story assignment to my summer enrichment students. 

I think it has a bit of Bradbury in it.


Pierre von Staed was coming home, after 500 years.
In his spaceship, he had hibernated in a chamber that slowed his aging and woke him only for short periods to explore planets in deep space.
His mission: to seek life.
Pierre’s spaceship landed gently now. He woke from dreamless oblivion, opening his eyes upon a wasteland—hot gray skies, wrecked buildings.
He activated a device which could scan an entire planet for life. Within minutes it beeped: NO LIFE FORMS.
Pierre re-entered his ship and blasted off. His search would continue, but with a new goal: to find a home.

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